What a place for a nest

The FedEx driver has been telling me lately about a nest among the stones that line the roadway where he parks to make deliveries to our office. He’s afraid that one of these days, he’s going to step on it by mistake.

I went looking for it this morning, but I couldn’t find it. Had the eggs hatched already, I wondered? But at lunchtime a co-worker and I went and looked, and this time the bird was sitting on her eggs (while another bird, I suppose the father) stood a few feet away.

I had forgotten to take my digital camera, and the picture I took with my cell phone doesn’t show much detail, but you can see the bird in the center. We could barely see the eggs (when I tried to get close, the bird flared out her tail feathers in what I assume was a gesture designed to warn me off), but my impression was of speckled eggs that were nearly indistinguishable from the stones that surrounded them.

I suppose that makes this a good place for a nest, if you want to keep the eggs safe from predators. I had already seen this morning that the nest was just about impossible to find without a bird sitting on it to mark the spot.

Unfortunately the bird’s instincts don’t take into account the fact that large human feet stepping off a delivery truck can do as much damage as any hungry predator. So far, so good. But I don’t know how many more days it will take before the eggs hatch.

As best as I can tell from looking at pictures, the bird seems to be a killdeer. Killdeer do in fact make nests that are mere depressions in the ground, fringed by stones (and blades of grass, according to wikipedia, but I guess our killdeer decided to forgo the grass in order to have plenty of stone camouflage).

I hope to remember my camera next time, to get a better shot. If the eggs are still there, that is – not yet hatched … or stepped on.

One Response to What a place for a nest

  1. Stephen Kahn says:

    We had a junco nest on the ground in the bushes behind our garden. I discovered this when I stepped on one of the eggs. We have lots of juncos, and I presume that is why they make lots of eggs.

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